Hi I'm new here.
Not sure where to post this, because the issue relates to both licensing and copyright. I have a couple of questions about paintings for anyone who might be able to answer or has had experience of this kind of thing:
1) I have painted a portait of someone who has commissioned a painting from me. Do I need to obtain a release form in order to display a photograph of the painting (as part of my portfolio either online or elsewhere) which contains their image/ likeness? The subject of my painting doesn't wish to have the painting shown publicly either on my website or on social media sites because they think it is an extremely private affair and don't want it to be seen by anyone else (the work is not a nude or anything like that, but just a completely normal painting which would be perfectly acceptable to display).
I know that with photographs, you normally have to obtain a release form and get the subject to sign it if it is showing a picture of them, otherwise it might be seen as an invasion of privacy, unless used for private, research or educational purposes (ie anything non-commercial). However, is it the same for paintings as for photographs?
The whole essence of a painter's work is to display their work for others to see, particularly any commissioned work they may have undertaken, and precisely for commercial purposes to attract new business. Also, unlike a photo, ultimatelyl the purpose of the painting is not to show off the subject matter, but the painter's skill. Potential customers want to see examples of your latest work (especially commissioned work), particularly if it is a specific type of painting (eg portraits). It would be a serious limitation and hindrance if you can't even show your own work to others. It would be like gaining experience in a job/ gaining a qualification, but never being able to show it on your CV, which amounts to you not having the experience at all.
Should I have obtained a release form? It is too late now, because the subject has already indicated that they aren't willing to have it displayed, so it is highly unlikely they would want to sign a release form now. However, as the artist, am I still legally entitled to show the work that contains that person's image?
Also, does this mean that for all future work, whenever someone commissions a painting, I need to have them sign a release form at the start (before commencing any work) in order to display it as part of my portfolio? What if the painting is commissioned by A but the subject matter is of B, and the painting is a surprise for B? How am I supposed to then get B to sign that release form since A can't do it on their behalf, but A wouldn't want B to know about it either? This almost makes the whole idea of commissioned paintings impossible.
2) If the person who has commissioned the painting has already bought it, am I effectively assigning my copyright in the painting to that person by the fact that they have paid for it, or do those intellectual property rights still remain with me, the artist? If they still remain with the artist, shouldn't I have the right to display my own work? I would've thought that while I may be assigning the physical property rights through the sale of the painting, the intellectual property rights remain with me. Is it in any way implied through the sale that there is an assignment of rights, or does this need to be specifically stated in some kind of document (either that I am assigning it, or that I am not assigning it)?
Any help or suggestions appreciated.